So, I borrow Krapp’s l ;j ast tape.
I start again.
I borrowed the text of ‘Krapp’s Last Tape’ and it brought back memories of a production. Actually, it brought back beautiful, lovely memories of a thousand productions. And here is a short story based on them that involves both Beckett and bananas.
I could not believe my good luck in having found someone who wanted and sought out my presence at dinner. Most people couldn’t (and can’t) bear my companionship. He did seem to me to carry the faint, but distinct odour of fruit. Not unusual at all, because he was shoving a banana in his waistcoat every night and twice on Saturday and Sunday for the matinee shows. It was only natural that Ryan would carry some of that with him. I was approached and, at last, asked how I managed to share a table- more importantly, a table bearing food I intended to consume- with my bright, bespectacled and banana-scented friend. My first reaction was from the gut.
“Because you sure as Hell won’t eat with me.”
Which I didn’t say at all, but smiled.
“Why wouldn’t I eat with Ryan?”
I have never had the clearest head in the world, with my sinuses providing hours of fluid disposal enjoyment. This was more often than not, a blessing in disguise. I could eat without fear in the University cafeteria, withstand men trying to suffocate their dates into submission with cologne and ignore the skips beneath my window. I couldn’t smell the things I did enjoy, but at least the objectionable was more often than not filtered out.
“Bless your crooked little heart, Anna.” It is a crooked little heart, being a bit misplaced in my chest. (When I was younger it even had a hole in it that let blood slide back where it shouldn’t have. You didn’t have to go so far as a seashell. You could hear the tide with a stethoscope. That, however, has healed. I am not musical or poetic enough to contain an ocean now).
Ryan was, in the meantime, the best of company. We had thoroughly engaging discussions on the subtleties of performing and costuming Beckett, since he was an actor and I was the seamstress unaffectionately known as “that bitch”. I had to admit then that watching the banana smash into that waistcoat was slowly killing me. He told me he hated the reel-to-reel tape player that liked to jam and attack his fingers with alarming rapacity and if it hadn’t been loaned to our group, he would have hurled it through a window. The rest of the society, since we all habitually ate together at the student union, had drifted to tables on the other side of the room. I supposed that my situation had transferred to him. Eat with that girl and be forever exiled to the side of the room where you get that draft when the door is opened just far enough.
We went for a month and come back rested and happy (or in my own case, militant feminist. It had begun as a misguided attempt to fail a women’s studies class by writing more and more perversely anti-male entries for our required journal. The marks went through the roof… As I had also gotten much needed sleep, I was no longer our lady of the perpetual sinus infection.) Ryan bounded up to me in a small hall and an unmistakable odour assailed me.
“Nice to know Beckett hasn’t put you off fruit all together.” I had actually feared for Ryan because of this. It couldn’t have been good. The last production, they’d actually managed to find and put him off cherry pies and milk indefinitely.
“I haven’t been able to face a banana since then.”
No, I didn’t say that. Because deep inside me, there is a purplish, beating- though slightly off-centre – organ, which popular sentiment holds responsible for the nice things we do and say to each other. I would not have said - yes, I did say that. Because realization and the rest hit me all at once. I ran with my nose on fire, my eyes so wet I couldn’t see where I ran, only that it was away.
Krapp, known to the real world as Ryan, smelled.